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For week ended October 17, 1999 Posted 17 Oct 1999

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VIPs preview film about Joseph Smith

Summarized by Kent Larsen

VIPs preview film about Joseph Smith
Deseret News 14Oct99 A1
By Lee Davidson: Deseret News Washington correspondent

WASHINGTON, DC -- Washington's elite turned-out for a reception and preview of the upcoming documentary, "American Prophet - The Story of Joseph Smith" on Wednesday night and to meet his successor, President Gordon B. Hinckley. The crowd included senators, House members, top business leaders and diplomats from more than 20 countries.

The documentary, which has already been shown in Utah, will be shown nationally on PBS on November 26th. The reception and preview, held at the J.W. Marriott Hotel, was provided by the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, the same foundation that funded the documentary.

The LDS Church's International Affairs Office invited LDS members of Congress to host ambassadors and diplomats. Apostles Dallin H. Oaks and M. Russell Ballard attended, as did several well-known LDS members, including Brent Scowcroft, former national security adviser under US Presidents Ford and Bush.

Speaking to the audience, President Hinckley said he was glad that the Church was past the troubles Joseph Smith faced, "I'm just delighted that those times of great stress and misunderstanding and persecution . . . have passed, that we live in a new age and in a new time when there is . . . respect and there's a measure of civility and there's an eagerness to understand the great characters of the past, including this young man (Smith). He represents to me a magnificent man who did a magnificent work. Joseph Smith's lengthened shadow extends through all the history of this church now and all across the world,"

The documentary was produced by LDS Church member Lee Groberg, whose previous project was "Trail of Hope," the story of the Mormon migration from Nauvoo to Utah. Like Trail of Hope, American Prophet is narrated by well-know actor Gregory Peck.

Hinckley also notedin his remarks that the Church has nearly 11 million members, and may pass 11 million by the end of this year, "I think by Dec. 31 of this year, we'll pass the 11 million mark. Maybe not quite, maybe. But if we don't make it this year, we'll make it next year."

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information